California Travel Tips

Farewell to Dick Dale

Published on: March 18, 2019


Dick Dale pictured on left with shirt that says “DICK DALE FOR PRESIDENT,” sang “Surf City” with Dean Torrence (Jan & Dean) and The Nocturnes band at a Surfin’ Sundays concert in Huntington Beach. Like Torrence, Dale was a regular at the International Surfing Museum where one of his famous guitars is often on display. Dick Dale passed away at the age of 81 on March 16, 2019.

We first heard about Dick Dale’s Southern California connection on a boat ride in the Newport Harbor. The narrated tour of homes includes interesting tidbits… Dale, whose real name was Richard Anthony Monsour, once owned the prominent mansion at the very end of Balboa Peninsula. The property originally built by King C. Gillette, the razor magnate, came into Dale’s possession from 1976 to 1986. The famed, left-handed guitarist, composer and musician, reportedly was evicted for defaulting on a loan. The house now worth millions of dollars had been purchased by Dale for $275,000, so the story goes.

We met Dick Dale over a decade ago in Huntington Beach where he frequented the surfing museum to visit close friends like Natalie Kotsch (museum founder,) and Linda Miller, who organized the museum’s summer concerts.

The talented guitarist who’s credited with helping Jimi Hendrix, and was known for playing right-handed Fender Stratocasters upside down, was considered by some to be more skilled than Hendrix.

But what we remember about this legendary musician was his sense of humor and kind heart. He took time for everyone, and even during rough spells in which he battled cancer, wore a smile. He’d sign autographs and pose in pictures with strangers who interrupted him during his visits with friends he welcomed with hugs.

Dick Dale was a nice guy — that’s how we’ll remember him.


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